How to Increase Your Gas Mileage

There’s tons of tricks to lower the price of gas at the pump. Some of them we have covered here before such as enrolling in rewards programs for your local gas station and even better, using rewards from supermarkets such as Stop & Shop or Kroger. These tricks might get you gas for under $1.00 per gallon or even free in some cases, but there’s still other ways that can save you money while driving.

empty tank gas

We all wonder how the mileage rating is achieved. We see a car that claims 40 miles/gallon and then we can only get 30 out of it. Here’s a list of tips that will help you maximize your mileage and keep those trips to the pump at a minimum.

Check you air filter

Nearly one in four cars in the road right now needs a air filter replacement. A new air filter can save you as much as 10% in gas consumption.

Alignment

Tire alignment is done after replacing one or more tires. It’s an easy extra step that won’t cost you much. But make sure that your mechanic aligns your tires because it gives you better control and it can save you as much as 10% in gas.

Properly inflated tires

Always inflate your tires to manufacturers requirements. More than a quarter of cars have deflated tires and for every 7.5lbs lost in pressure you lose 2.8% in gas consumption. You can save even more if you over-inflate your tires, but that will reduce their lifespan.

Use the Correct Motor Oil

Be sure to use the proper motor oil. If you’re not sure which type your car requires, check the owner’s manual or do a search online. Using the wrong motor oil can cause the engine to work harder and waste gas.

Tighten your gas cap

It’s estimated that 17% of cars have a broken or missing gas cap. Some people also forget to put it on after filling up. A missing gas cap can hurt the car’s fuel economy since gas evaporates quicker.

Drive Sensibly

Aggressive driving wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds and by 5% around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than just gas money. Each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed, but gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph. Cruise control also helps you save gas in most cases so for long trips you can set it to 50 mph for best results.

Eliminate Wind Resistance

An open window increases drag and costs you fuel in the long run – so keep your windows closed whenever possible.

Less AC more savings

Using the AC in the car will undoubtedly lower your gas mileage. Driving in a sticky humid car is also a hassle so try to balance it out.

Remove Unnecessary weight

Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially if they’re heavy. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by about 1%. If you have a 200lbs friend that you don’t like, leave him home and you save 2%.

Avoid Idling

Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on your car and air conditioner use. Turn off your engine when your vehicle is parked. It only takes about 10 seconds worth of fuel to restart your vehicle and it helps the environment a bit. In NYC it’s illegal to idle longer than three minutes (one minute in a school zone).

Strategically time your trips to the pump

During a regular week, it’s best to fill up your tank on Wednesday or Thursday before 10am. Gas prices rise on Thursdays in anticipation of weekend travel” and 10am is when most station owners make their price change for the day.

Buy when it’s cooler

Purchase gas early or late in the day, especially during hot months. Gas is cooler earlier in the day, and more dense, so you’ll get more for the same price. As temperatures rise, gas density falls and you get less of it (and more air) when you pump.

Use apps

Use the AAA Triptik or GasBuddy apps to find the cheapest gas in your area. Avoid gas stations that are near highways as they usually have the most expensive gas since they’re very accessible. But also don’t go out of your way to save a few pennies on gas.

Any other tricks not listed here? Let me know!

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